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2013 AARP Best Employers

Pinnacle Health System


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Industry: Hospitals/Health Care    Location: Harrisburg, Pa.    Website:

Winning Years: 2013, 2011, 2009, 2007, 2006

Highlights of 2013 Winning Strategies

Pinnacle Health System employees can retire, draw a full pension and then be rehired the next day to work a maximum of 24 hours per week while maintaining group medical, dental, life insurance and accrued time-off benefits. Employees participating in the Wellness Works Initiative receive a discount on their health insurance premiums. Employees must complete a health risk assessment, biometrics screening, age/sex specific diagnostic tests, an annual physical, and sanctioned health and wellness activities to receive the discount.

Additional Policies and Practices

  • Workplace Culture/Continued Opportunities: Pinnacle Health employees are offered in-house classroom training, online training and certification classes. Employees working 16-plus hours per week are eligible for tuition reimbursement and full-time employees working 40 hours per week receive reimbursement on their professional membership dues. In a recent 12-month period, 99 percent of employees participated in at least one of the training opportunities with an average of 13 hours spent in training. Long-service anniversaries are celebrated with announcements, parties, gifts and awards. Feedback from employee engagement survey results prompted Pinnacle Health to increase its tuition assistance benefit, change its paid time off accrual policy so employees can cash-in at 100 percent and use the funds for educational expenses, establish an Employee Engagement Council, offer a Health Savings Account with a high deductible medical plan, and revise its health insurance plan benefit to cover all preventive care. Employees have opportunities to gain new experiences by working on temporary assignments in other departments and on team projects. Pinnacle Health offers large screen monitors and increased font sizes on computer screens for employees with visual impairment, and for employees with audio impairment amplifiers and headsets for phones are available. An ergonomic specialist evaluates employees’ work stations and adjustments/replacements are made when necessary.

  • Benefits/Health: Employees working 24-plus hours per week receive individual and family medical coverage and individual and family prescription drug coverage. Individual and family vision and dental insurance and short-term disability are offered to employees working 16-plus hours per week. Long-term disability is offered to employees working 30-plus hours per week, while individual and family long-term care insurance is offered to all employees. Individual life insurance is offered to retirees pre-65 and for retirees age 65-plus. New hires are eligible to receive the life insurance benefit upon retirement. Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) are available to assist in covering out-of-pocket health care costs. Full- and part-time employees are offered flu shots, health screenings, health risk appraisals, smoking cessation programs, health club discounts, physical activity and weight loss programs, nutritional counseling, healthy eating demos, as well as stress management training. EAP services are available to full- and part-time employees as well as their family members.

  • Benefits/Financial: Employees are offered 401(k) and 403(b) plans with employer match. All new hires are automatically enrolled in the plans, employees age 50-plus can make catch-up contributions to their plans, and plan participants may invest in lifecycle funds that automatically reallocate assets based on age or proximity to retirement. Employees are offered financial education from staff members, from the staff of the financial services firm that administers their savings plan and from external financial planning experts. Financial planning seminars are offered and financial planning and retirement services are available through LifeCare, an on-line life event management service. LifeCare offers resources on retirement, annuities, personal finances, investing, wills, estate planning, Social Security, home buying and planning for college. Short- and long-term leaves of absence without pay are offered to allow for caregiving. Employees can donate unused days off to fellow employees in emergency or extended absence situations. Pinnacle Health offers referral services and backup care to assist with child care, grandchild care and eldercare to all employees.

  • Benefits/Alternative Work Arrangements: Alternative work arrangements such as flextime, compressed work schedules, job sharing and telecommuting are offered to all employees. Employees working 16-plus hours per week are eligible for participation in the formal phased retirement program. Full-time employees are eligible to move to part-time work on a permanent or temporary basis.

  • Opportunities for Retiree: Pinnacle Health has 1,666 retirees and an individual directly responsible for retiree relations. The hospital stays connected with its retirees by communicating on a regular basis, inviting retirees to organization events, and by formally acknowledging employees upon their retirement. Retirees are offered part-time employment opportunities at Pinnacle Health.

  • Age of Workforce: Thirty-four percent of Pinnacle Health employees are age 50-plus.The average tenure of employees age 50-plus is 17.7 years.

Also of Interest: More AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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